Home » Dog Care Tips » 7 Simple Steps To Feeding Your Puppy (#4 Is Crucial)

7 Simple Steps To Feeding Your Puppy (#4 Is Crucial)

Pawscessories is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

So you have a new puppy and are wondering exactly how much food you should be feeding them. The exact age and weight of your puppy will affect exactly how much you should feed them.

Puppy Feeding Chart By Age & Weight:

Puppy WeightAmount Per Day For 6-12 Weeks OldAmount Per Day For 3-4 Months OldAmount Per Day For 5-7 Months OldAmount Per Day For 8-12 Months Old
3 – 5 Ibs1 – 1 ⅓ cups¾ – 1 cup½ – ¾ cup½ – ⅔ cup
5 – 10 lbs1 ⅓ – 2 ½ cups1 – 2 cups¾ – 1 ½ cups⅔ – 1 cup
10 – 20 Ibs2 ½ – 4 cups2 – 3 ½ cups1 ½ – 2 ⅔ cups1 – 2 cups
20 – 30 Ibs4 – 5 ¾ cups3 ⅓ – 4 ½ cups2 ⅔ – 3 ⅔ cups2 – 2 ¾ cups
30 – 40 Ibs5 ¾ – 7 cups4 ½ – 5 ⅔ cups3 ⅔ – 4 ½ cups2 ¾ – 3 ⅓ cups
**These are generic recommendations only.  Please check the package for product specific feeding recommendations and always consult your vet about how much you should be feeding your puppy. If you have a puppy over 40 Ibs refer to the puppy to adulthood feeding guide**

In this article we will discuss:

  • 7 simple steps to feeding your puppy properly
  • What best puppy food brands are
  • How much food you should be feeding your puppy
  • What to do if your puppy is not eating enough

And more…

How To Feed Your Puppy Properly (7 Steps)

When a puppy comes into your world, life gets thrown into shambles with all the new things you have to do for them.

How to properly feed your puppy is one of those things that can be pretty confusing. There are conflicting opinions on which type of food to feed them, how much, which brands, etc.

In order to simplify this, here are  simple steps when feeding your puppy.

1.) Puppy Nutrition

Understanding the specific needs of your puppy is step #1 to feed your puppy.

Puppies need puppy food not adult dog food. This is so they get the appropriate nutrition needed to develop their growing bodies. Puppy foods contain higher amounts of proteins, fat, and certain vitamins and minerals that aid in these early stages of growth.

We all know how energetic a puppy can be and because of this, they need appropriate nutrition, and calories to supplement their energy.

2.) Breed Specific Feeding

Not only is it important to have puppy food specifically but it’s also important to get breed specific food.

Large dog breeds may find more benefit from using large breed specific formulas. In contrast, smaller sized dogs will find small breed specific formulas for puppies.

The formulas contained in each breed’s food is unique to their needs. For example, larger dogs have bigger mouths and a higher risk of developing joint problems, thus, their puppy formula will include specific nutrients and proper sized pieces for these.

Conversely, smaller dog breeds have increased metabolisms and smaller mouths so they have high energy formulas and smaller kibble for ease of chewing.

3.) Kibble Vs. Wet Puppy Food

For most dry kibble is a ‘go to’ for puppy food, however, there are plenty of great wet puppy foods.

Although kibble is most people’s choice due to its cheaper prices, some dogs may prefer wet dog food.

It’s usually best to start out with kibble and then transition later on if you are finding your dog doesn’t enjoy the food. You can even consider trying freeze dried dog foods as an option. Just make sure to always consult your vest before switching foods, especially for puppies.

4.) Picking A Food Brand

When it comes to selecting your puppies’ food it becomes challenging to know which brands are the best.

There are so many different brands that it becomes hard to determine the optimal one to select that is affordable and the highest quality.

However, when discussing dog food with vets there are 2 brands that are on the top of the list, Hills and Royal Canin.

The reason vets recommend these brands is not because they profit off of selling them to you but because of how much science and research goes into them.

Out of all brands they have the most scientific articles diving deep into optimizing dog food to keep your dog happy and healthy.

Dr. Littlejohn from the Kennedy Road Vet Hospital in Ontario says, “the best foods are backed by actual research and feeding trials. Hills and Royal Canin do extensive work to prove their foods yield excellent real-world results. I find it difficult to recommend other food brands with the amount of research, testing, and science backing these brands. It’s hard to beat.”

In addition we have vets like Dr. Gregory Gstrein, from VCA Animal Hospital in California, saying similar things about Royal Canin.

The pure popularity with these brands among countless vets is why these are at the top of the list.

Throughout our research here are the top 3 best puppy food brands rated by veterinarians:

Important note: These are not the only good brands of puppy food around so make sure to do some more research to determine what is the best route for your pup. In addition, always consult your vet about food.

5.) Picking A Protein And Flavor

There are many choices when it comes to a protein source for your puppy.

Chicken, lamb, fish, beef etc. Which to choose is the tough part. Usually food brands will have puppy formula specific to dog size or breed.

Selecting a puppy food that is specific to your dog’s size and breed is the most important part. These brands have done most of the heavy lifting for you.

However, even with these brands, the last thing you want is to buy a bag of food to find out your dog has an allergy.

So at first when you get a puppy, stick with your breeders food they’ve already been feeding them. If you stick to that protein for the first little while your pup should be good.

It’s always a good idea to speak with a vet about which protein source is a good idea for your dog to avoid any allergies they may have.

What About Grains In Puppy Food?

This has become a big topic of recent conversation. 

Grain-free foods contain roughly the same amount of carbohydrates as foods containing grains. In actuality, wheat gluten contains more than 80 percent protein, is 99 percent digestible, and has an amino acid profile similar to meat proteins. 

Dr. Venator says, “Grains are actually an excellent nutrient source.” Grains are packed with nutrients and provide carbohydrates, fat, and antioxidants. 

That means, the grains in dog food can support healthy skin, and hair, plus support healthy immune systems and more.

5.) Frequency Of Feeding & Routine

Puppies start out needing multiple small meals a day. Setting up a routine for feeding becomes important. In fact, you should set a routine for everything.

Setting sleep, eating, potty, play, and exercise routines goes a long way when training your dog. Dogs love routine and it will ultimately help with feeding your puppy.

Depending on how old your dog is will depend on the frequency you should feed your dog.

4-12 Weeks – Younger puppies need three or more feedings per day to meet their daily caloric intake.

3-12+ Months – As your puppy grows and develops, you can reduce feeding to twice per day. Energy levels as dogs get older should slow them down. Therefore, they may not require as much food.

You can also get an automatic feeder to feed your puppy at specific times each day so you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

So, now that you know the frequency, how much should you feed them?

6.) How Much To Feed Puppies

Below is a chart that represents how much dog food you should feed your puppy daily. On the far left hand side is the weight they are estimated to be at full size.

You’ll notice that there is a range in the amount of cups you should feed your puppy. This is because the food, brand, and breed of your dog  can factor into how much to feed them.

This is a general guide to have an idea of the range you want to stay within. Always consult your vet to get a more specific answer. In addition, use the feeding guide displayed on all puppy food packaging.

Daily Puppy To Adulthood Feeding Guide 

Estimated Weight At Adulthood4 – 12 Weeks4 – 5 Months6 – 8 Months9 – 11 Months1 – 2 Years
3 – 12 Ibs0.5 – 1 cup0.7 – 1.33 cups0.5 – 1.5 cupsFeed as adultFeed as adult
13 – 20 Ibs0.5 – 1.25 cups1.1 – 2 cups0.75 – 1.33 cups1 – 1.5 cupsFeed as adult
21 – 50 Ibs0.5 – 1.5 cups1.5 – 2.75 cups1.2 – 2.33 cups2 – 3 cups2 – 4.25 cups
51 – 75 Ibs0.7 – 2.33 cups1.5 – 4 cups1.5 – 3.75 cups2.5 – 4.75 cups2.6 – 6.25 cups
76 – 100 Ibs1 – 2.6 cups2.9 – 3.75 cups2.9 – 6.33 cups3.9 – 7 cups5.6 – 11 cups
101 Ibs and over2.7 cups + 0.33 cup more for each 10 Ibs over 100 Ibs 3.75 cups + 0.33 cup more for each 10 Ibs over 100 Ibs 6.33 cups + 0.33 cup more for each 10 Ibs over 100 Ibs 7 cups + 0.33 cup more for each 10 Ibs over 100 Ibs 11 cups + 0.33 cup more for each 10 Ibs over 100 Ibs
**Disclaimer. These are generic recommendations only.  Please check the package for product specific feeding recommendations and always consult your vet about how much you should be feeding your puppy.**

7.) Feeding Your Puppy Treats

When it comes to feeding your puppy treats there are a couple things you can do. The easiest thing you can do is just use their regular food.

If they need 1 cup of food daily, then just make sure you are including the treats in that daily amount.

The rule of thumb is that 10% of a dog’s daily intake of calories can be treats. The other 90% should be their main dietary food.

Additionally, you can get them some puppy treats outside of their main food. Just make sure to take into account the amount of treats you are giving them to stay within their daily intake limits.

What If My Puppy Is Not Eating Enough Food?

If your puppy is not eating the total recommended daily intake there are a couple of things to note.

Your puppy may not be eating all of their food for reasons such as, not being hungry, distracted, depression, virus, infection, pain, bowel obstruction, environmental change, or they are a picky eater.

If your puppy is not eating food at all, consult with your vet immediately. It’s extremely important for puppies to eat their food. You can check out our guide on the 7 reasons why dogs won’t eat for more detailed information on what you can do and why they may not be eating.

Other post you may find interesting:

11 Simple Steps To Leash Train A Puppy (#9 Is Key)

12 Tips To Get Your Dog To Stop Peeing Inside (#5 Works)

7 Simple Steps To Get Your Dog To Stop Barking


The Best Dog Foods, According to Veterinarians
Puppy Feeding Guide: How Much to Feed a Puppy & More
Puppy Feeding Fundamentals
How Much Should I Feed My Puppy? A Complete Puppy Feeding Guide with Chart
How to Choose the Best Dog Food
6 Tips for Choosing Healthy Puppy Food
How To Select The Right Pet Food For Your Puppy
Is Grain Good For Dogs?